Many messages have told us lately to get angry and go after what ever angers you. Be it a person, a statue, someones business, someone’s character, do life on your terms no matter who or what gets hurt. Social media has proven to be an outlet that has never before been able to reach so many people at one time and created a place to speak ones mind with no filter as far as words go, promoting campaigns of this group be angry at that group and this person spewing angry claims at that one. Total revenge and no forgiveness is the message. This message is NOT healthy! God says forgive.
Lashing out at one another and letting anger grow exponentially into violence does not go well for anyone. The angry destroyer grows more and more angry, never satisfying the anger no matter how much destruction is done, even passing down the inheritance of bitterness and anger to keep the fight going does not serve or remedy the problem for the next generation. Pouring the poison from person to person, it continues to be poison. The person or thing hurt or destroyed by the anger is also devastated with reaching ripples. The ripples are not gentle ones and they are far reaching. Rippling hurt, pain, despair, devastation, hurling wrath, judgement and condemnation. Individually and collectively harboring unforgiveness effects so much of our life and those around us, and it is not good. This is opposite of what Scripture says. In Romans 12:14 NLT it states, “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God would bless them.”
Generational pain when not handled leads to more of the same, more pain. Nothing gets better only more bitter where forgiveness is withheld. We’ve heard stories where families stopped speaking to one another and a generation later still is isn’t speaking and doesn’t even know what they are supposed to be angry about anymore, but the anger is there. God has specific instructions for us to forgive, and that all vengeance belongs to him. The spirit of anger is very catching, very contagious. This is not what our selves, communities, or country needs to catch. Anger & revenge are a fierce virus that kills, steals and destroys. We are instructed to: Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
As I noticed the unforgiveness in our country, God has been speaking to me about some very deep hurts in my heart that I allowed to become grounds of deep anger and bitterness. I had experienced some deep hurts MANY years ago, and thought I would just move past it, but repeatedly the hurts continued to happen as the years went on. I thought I had forgiven but the hurts became even more intense, and really I discovered I was just “sweeping it under the rug” “handling it” hoping things would get better, instead it began ravaging.
I had repeatedly prayed for help and for protection and healing, but now seeing, I had not worked through forgiveness. In fact, I had instead chosen anger, gossip, and pride. I had also watched this same harm come to others around me. I sought counseling, continued praying and tried to manage. It seemed the hurt, anger and bitterness only continued to grow. Until of course it hit a boiling point, and I was so angry over an encounter, “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, and then “a final straw” I called a friend. This friend cared enough to speak hard truth to me. She said, “Forgive, you need to forgive.” At these words of advice I got mad, LIVID, I didn’t want to forgive. I realized hurt and anger were overtaking me and a lot of relationships around me were being affected. In that moment the Holy Spirt- nudged me, to become aware and forgive.
God knows these strikes to our hearts, that hurt so deep can only be healed by him, so he tells us to forgive. He knows our human selves cannot handle what unforgiveness brings. He does not ask us to go running back to the people or things that hurt us. God says come to me, forgive and I will step in and handle the people or situation that has caused so much hurt. This is so hard for us humans because we are so bent on having control.
Basically, in unforgiveness, we decide we need to be God in the situation and decide the outcome of what was done or what happened to us must be avenged by us. The thing is, we experienced the hurt, but we don’t know the whole story around why the person or event happened as it did. Only God knows. Living in unforgiveness claims “I am handling this.”, so it stops God from helping, it casts his help aside.
God has a profoundly deep love for us and cannot stand it when we are hurt, it hurts him to see us hurt, he wants to help us. He completely understands our pain as he has experienced deep pain too and sympathizes with us. He is the redeemer and restorer of our hearts. He calls us to come to him apart from the person or situation and work on forgiveness with Him.
*****Please here this, he does not call us to stay in a dangerous or abusive situations, he does not call us to be manipulated continually by others, he does not call us to stay where someone or a situation hurts us or has a history of hurting us. *****
God asks us to come to him and to let him have control. He asks us to open our heart to him, and say, something like, “this_______ hurt me, I forgive. I give it to you, I give them/the situation to you, it is not my responsiblity to keep carrying this hurt. I give it to you and look to you for help.”
God allows us to have boundaries. When we see a pattern of harm, we can distance ourself from the person or situation, either completely staying away or putting safe boundaries in place that we can live with and not be confined by anger, bitterness, anxiety or fear. It is my opinion that is one reason Jesus says forgive 70×7 because he knows the hurt could surface in our minds again, so when that happens we know it is safe, right and best for us to go straight back to him and say, I forgive_________ and trust you, help me. Then let him lead us with what comes next.
Since the evening my friend said, “Forgive.” I have poured a lot of time and prayer and research into working through forgiveness, As mentioned earlier Jesus said forgive 70×7, this Scripture implying keep on forgiving I start to ask for help with forgiveness every time this particular situation comes to mind, I still stumble but will continue to ask God to help me live in forgiveness.– In complete honesty, had to ask God to forgive me & help me forgive today again over this matter. — It wasn’t/isn’t a pretty process and definitely not easy and I am still working through it. – 70×7- Talking it out with God every time, speaking I forgive, just like you forgive me, God.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NLT and But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too.” Mark 11:25 These verses cut straight to my core when I began studying forgiveness after my friend told me I needed to forgive. I absolutely don’t want God to withhold forgiveness from me, as I cannot even begin to tell you how many times a day I sin. Scripture states: Make allowance for each others faults and forgive anyone who offends you, Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13NLT —-Remember the call is to forgive, the call is to pray to God, the call is not to stay in a harmful situation. The hope for reconciliation and restoration, is there but sometimes that is not what is possible this side of heaven. However, peace can come from God and the ability to go on in life with love is there. Forgiveness though, is always possible and the so is the freedom it brings!!!!
I wonder if our communities and nation are experiencing some of the troubles we are due to so much unforgiveness. Generational unforgiveness and individual, personal unforgiveness.The angry messages on the news and how people treat one another is absolutely void of grace, love and forgiveness. God says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”
Romans 12:17 Unforgiveness steals from us, it steals the opportunity to be at peace and be oneself, it alters our relationships with those around us if we are always walking around with a chip on our shoulder, it weights us down and kills joy and love. Unforgiveness steals from our communities and it is so far reaching, because so many opportunities to experience love and share love are lost when unforgiveness rules.
If you would join me in praying to God to help us individually work through any areas we need to personally forgive and seek forgiveness and praying fervently over our nation that forgiveness would ripple through it and all spirits of unforgiveness, grudge holding, hate and animosity would be cast out. As it has been said before, it starts with one. Really wonderful and beautiful things can come through forgiveness, in many facets of life.
May we be blessed today to walk in the beautiful life Jesus came to give us, forgiving us, and teaching us how to forgive too. The of freedom of being forgiven and forgiving others and situations is such a profound gift. May we receive healing in our hearts and minds so we could live in the love, light and grace that Jesus came to give us!
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NLT